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Taekwondo Champion May Lose Gold

February 1, 2006

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A taekwondo champion at last year’s Southeast Asian Games may lose her gold medal after testing positive for a banned substance.

Esther Marie Singson of the Phillipines consumed a banned diuretic in a weight-loss drink, Steve Hontiveros, secretary general of the Philippine Olympics Committee said Wednesday. Singson won gold in the women’s bantamweight division.

``The report on the doping is it is positive,″ Hontiveros said.

Robert Aventajado, chairman of the Philippine Olympics Committee and president of the Philippine Taekwondo Association, said in a statement that Singson ``inadvertently used a banned substance″ _ a diuretic which is found in slimming teas.

Aventajado said Singson drank the tea to make weight in her division. The statement did not disclose the name of the diuretic.

The urine tests were conducted at a medical facility in Beijing, accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

``We stand by the innocence of our athlete,″ Aventajado said. ``Clearly, she did not take any drug that would have given her advantage in the sport she participated in. It was just an honest mistake.″

Four athletes from Vietnam and one from Myanmar were stripped of their medals won at the 2003 Southeast Asian Games because of doping.

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